UK paves the way for fuel from seaweed and other algae
Research highlights commercial opportunities for UK algae cultivation.
Increasing demand for ‘green’ energy technologies is creating opportunities for the UK to become a market leader in producing biofuels and other products from seaweed and microscopic floating plants. But few UK companies have the expertise to cultivate algae for commercial uses.
A new report from the Living With Environmental Change-accredited Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group is therefore a welcome stimulus for entrepreneurs who may be tempted by the benefits of cultivating and using both macroalgae (seaweed) and microalgae (microscopic floating plants such as phytoplankton) in a wide range of products.
Dr Michele Stanley from the Scottish Association for Marine Science and Director of the special interest group says,
"The UK has a strong industrial sector that could expand its current use and development of high-value algal products, such as for the food and feed industry, personal care and nutrition, and using algae as a low-cost wastewater treatment.
‘In the longer term, cultivating algae for biofuels will provide an alternative to using land-grown crops, reducing both the threat of increased food costs and the effects on biodiversity, whilst benefiting energy producers, and the transport and aviation industries."
The report answers some of the questions about the best ways to cultivate and harvest the huge amounts of algae needed for commercial development. It considers the possibilities and costs of transferring land-based technologies to freshwater and marine environments. And it looks at the positive and negative impacts on the environment of scaling up algae production, along with recommendations for essential research needed to establish an environmentally sustainable algae-based industry.
You can download from below both the Technical Report to which this story refers and the Research Strategy which outlines key knowledge needs identified by stakeholders.
|Algal Bioenergy Technical Report.pdf||1.44 MB|
|Algal Bioenergy research Strategy Report.pdf||1.74 MB|